audio artistry recommends Rowland amplifiers
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Rowland is going to be more laid back or "sweet" sounding, as where the Pass will be more forward(though not bright). Really depends what you want from a system and what your sytem consists of! I can imagine thiel/pass would be bright and I can imagine that Dunlavy/rowland would be to laid back and you would not be able to listen for endless hours with out getting bored- what are you using and what are your listening preferences?
I think that the "fire sale" pricing has more to do with the very weak market -- based on an economy that makes poeple nervous enough to hesitate before spending big bucks -- for items over $5-6k. This means that right now you can get a pr of X600s, which really should be selling for $9-10k, for $7k. And they'll probably be saleable for $8K next year. Now, that's a raging bargain.
BTW -- No, I do not have any Pass amps for sale.
I just bought a pair of Pass X-600's. They are the best amplifiers I have ever owned. They are a significant improvement over my previous amps, the Pass Aleph 1.2 monoblocks in all areas with the exception of the midrange. In that area, I give the nod to the Aleph. I think the pricing of the 600's on the used market is more an indication of the state of the economy right now than anything else. Luxury items (and I consider audio a luxury item) are selling at lower than normal prices. Same thing can be said of expensive watches and cars. Prices are low because it is a buyers market.
Just my two cents worth.
My vote is for Pass Labs. I have a few pieces of Pass Labs equipment and enjoy all of it. I realize that there is a lot of top notch gear from other manufacturers, too. That is why I use customer service and management of a manufacturer to tip the scales on equipment purchases.
When thinking of buying a piece of equipment, if I can't find the answer from the distributor or web site, I call the mfgr. I can tell you that at Pass Labs, Peter Perkins and Wayne Colburn have always been very generous with their time when I have had questions. They listen to comments and are truly concerned with the products usage and customers' needs and perceptions. I can never say enough good things about them. I certify that I have no affiliation with Pass Labs except as a very satisfied customer.
All one needs to do is read an Pass Labs amp manual (found on their website) and you know that Pass Labs is a company that cares about their customers.
I've had both the Rowland 9Ti's and the Pass 600's, both of which I just sold. The Rowland s had a "sweet" sound but were really unresolving and kind of boring. The Pass' were livelier and much more resolving, but not as sweet a midrange (vocals). I had the JC-1's for 10 days and they were superb. Resolving , sweet-sounding, imaging, you name it. They blew away the Rowlands and the Pass" in listenability, if I can coin a word.The only weakness in MY system was at relatively high volumes, they became distorted. Now I have vicious speakers to drive, Avalon Osiris with a nominal 4 ohm impedance, but with what is charitably described as a difficult load. I may get the JC-1's, only I plan to audition the big Krells first. As Always, YMMV.
I agree with all the positive comments about Pass customer service- it is superb. Peter and Wayne are an absolute pleasure to deal with. I have two X350s and a D-1 driving my VMPS RM40s and the sound is to die for. The X350 also drove my ML Prodigies very nicely when I had those. The new PS Audio 250 Classic sounds very interesting for only $5K, and I think you can get a 30 day trial through PS Audio. New Llano Phoenix amps also "sound" very promising. I was thinking about getting the X600s for that price, they are a steal!
I have read over and over again that Rowland House sound is laid back and warm. But then people disagre. Someone calling it boring and someone calling it musically superb. I have only listen to the Model 2 with the best midrange (vocals) I have ever heard and I hope that 8TiHc would add the slam and dynamics that the small model 2 lacks. Anyone out there who has actually have 8tihc in there home for listning?
Ulf- I don't currently have any rowland amps nor do I plan to have one in the near future- and I am sure they are great amps(I had a model 5), they just aren't the sound that some-like myself- care for. I was not claiming that they don't have dynamics or power or even a good sound, but the presentation of the music is slightly askew not meaning bad just not 100% accurate- the kind of product I found it hard to listen to for hours at time with out my mind wandering into something else or just turning the system off all together. It only seems prudent to mention such a thing to a prospective buyer- maybe he feels other amps are too lean and bright then I am sure Rowland would be for him/her. One thing I must hand to JRDG is they are good looking amplifiers- great build quality. As I, in a round about way, said above in the right system I am sure they are magic.
I bought Deshapiro's 600's to power sub 1 ohm Apogee Scintillas. I bought the Pass monos on the strength of my listening to the X150 playing on my Apogee Duettas. The Pass is a wonderfully dynamic, involving amp, that never confuses, and never is fatiguing. Pass stole my heart away from tubes.
Llano? I had a Trinity 200 (Telefunken) here for the last few days, and the Pass wasn't needed for comparison purposes. The Llano fell on it's face.